Garfield High athletes take a stand against sex assault

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

A program that started at Garfield High School more than two years ago is gaining attention on campuses across the country for taking on the issues of sexual assault and harassment along with gender stereotypes.

Students named it Student Leaders and Athletic Youth, or S.L.A.Y. for short.

Elise Morris and Carlin Bills are both Garfield High seniors and captains on the soccer team.

"I think it is really important, because Garfield, just like many other high schools, is a place of a lot of insecurities, and I think that forces people into positions that they wouldn't necessarily want to be in," said Morris. "I mean there are some stories that make my heart hurt."

"There's been people close to me that have experienced sexual assault," Bills added. "And sexual harassment and catcalling is something that is very prevalent in schools."

Garfield High's female athletes attend regular meetings with S.L.A.Y. coordinator Jahtia Benton.

"We talk about gender stereotypes, we talk about consent, healthy relationships," said Benton. "I expect them to stand up for themselves. And stand up for women who can't really have a voice or don't have a voice for themselves."

During a soccer game Friday night, Garfield's players fastened teal and purple ribbons to their laces.

"Teal is for sexual assault awareness, and purple is for domestic assault awareness," said Morris.

The students say they also have started a Sexual Assault Awareness club at their school.

"You are either a part of the problem or part of the solution," said Bills.

Garfield High has received inquiries about "Student Leaders and Athletic Youth," according to program coordinators. They say schools in North Dakota, Iowa, and Wyoming have already adopted the program under the name "Athletes as Leaders."

Garfield High has a similar program for male students called Coaching Boys into Men.

© 2017 KING-TV


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